The Alliance for a Healthy Eating is born to stand up to unhealthy foods

The Alliance for a Healthy Eating is born to stand up to unhealthy foods

The campaign is based on the conclusions of the report "Give me Poison: journey to the center of unhealthy eating" which provides data on the effects of poor diet on health and the environment

VSF Global Food Justice has presented in Madrid its “Dame Veneno” campaign accompanied by the rest of the organizations that make up the newly born Alliance for a Healthy Eating.

It is a pioneering initiative in Spain in which organizations from various fields (consumption, health, agriculture, environmentalism and education) come together to face this global problem from a comprehensive perspective, providing different alternatives.

The presentation of the campaign took place in a conference held at the Casa de Vacas cultural center in Madrid and was supported by the Madrid City Council and FAO.

Madrid City Council, represented by Edurne Irigoien, expressed its commitment to the right to healthy eating and to a food system based on the principles of sustainability and social justice.

Within the framework of the campaign, the Report Give me poison: a journey to the center of unhealthy eating was presented, it collects data resulting from a long investigation that proves that our eating habits are increasingly affecting our health and the environment.

It is "shocking and dramatic" data, in the words of Javier Guzmán, director of VSF, "which has to do with food and that has a fundamentally structural and social cause." The campaign defends that poor diet is not the sole responsibility of the citizen, but that the social environment, advertising and confusing labeling make it very difficult to correctly inform consumers, who, although they want to eat better, do not have it easy.

For his part, Ferrán García, VSF researcher and author of the report, indicated that the most alarming data of the research reveal significant class and gender inequality, since poor nutrition is concentrated in families with fewer resources and in women. Thus, "the ground zero of bad nutrition is the women of the popular classes." Due to the operation of the industry, unhealthy foods are cheaper and more accessible.

According to the report, 70% of the food consumed in our country is processed and ultra-processed with components that are directly related to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some types of cancer. The most dangerous are the critical “hidden” ingredients, which cannot be avoided because the consumer is not aware of their presence. "The labeling struggle is endless," stated Ana Echenique, from CECU, in her speech.

One of the most serious consequences of poor diet is obesity. In Spain, two thirds of the adult population suffers from excess weight (39% overweight and 23% obesity) and one third of the child population (20% overweight and 10% obesity). The most worrying thing is that 71% of parents have a wrong perception of the weight of their children, which is called "naturalization of obesity," explained Miguel Ángel Royo, representative of SESPAS.

Carles Miralles, from MedicusMundi, attributes this problem to the fact that “the pleasure center with food is deformed for children”, who from an early age are encouraged to eat sugars. Thus, we enter the wheel of the agri-food industry from which it is very difficult to escape in adulthood.

Schools are also affected by poor nutrition, since cooking is no longer done in school canteens. José Luis Pazos, president of CEAPA, expressed the demand of parents that school canteens are also spaces for education and coexistence, where local foods are cooked daily with menus that complete the students' diet.

In the agricultural sector, the problem is also alarming, since the food that makes us sick originates from crops that are toxic to the earth. "It is impossible for healthy people to live on a sick planet," said Blanca Ruibal, head of the Agriculture and Food Department at Friends of the Earth.

The model of family and peasant agriculture, which cares for the environment, produces local employment and has its essence in producing food and not in mere economic business, is disappearing in favor of industrial agriculture. "In Spain 255 farms disappear per day from the family farming model, which is equivalent to a thousand soccer fields a day," said Rafael Hernández from COAG.

In the same vein, Tom Kucharz from Ecologistas en Acción, was in favor of the defense of the peasant agriculture system and contributed a more political vision on international treaties that represent a threat that affects legislative processes in matters of food security.

In short, the launch day of the "Dame Veneno" campaign highlighted the main concerns and demands pursued by the Alliance for a Healthy Eating: regulation of the advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages, imposition of fiscal measures, clear and mandatory labeling , healthy food and education options in educational centers, and promotion of family, social and sustainable agriculture and livestock. All this aimed at achieving the right to healthy food for the population, the basis of food sovereignty.


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